Category: Painting

Shiplap vs. Nickel Gap: Making Your Budget Work For You

This is going to sound weird, but I’m just going to come out and say it; one of my favorite renovation projects so far was the powder room in our Charleston house. Really? A bathroom? And not even like a master bathroom with a waterfall shower and a huge tub? Yeah, really, just a powder room. And I can sum up why in one word: “shiplap.”

Actually it’s really two words: “Nickel Gap”. So what’s the difference, and why does it matter? Well, technically shiplap is a type of board with a rabbet joint which allows the boards to overlap. The bathroom above did not use real shiplap, but it essentially looks like it. Instead we used a method called “Nickel Gap” which is simply spacing the boards the width of a nickel. This method is more time consuming, but can be done for significantly cheaper and yields a similar result.

For the boards, we used 5mm plywood, which is about as thin as plywood comes. At about $13.50 for a 4’x8′ sheet, you can really make a room interesting for cheap.  We bought 5 sheets at Lowes and had them cut in-store to 6″ wide strips lengthwise. I think the guy who did the cutting probably still breaks out into a cold sweat when he hears “Customer assistance needed in the board cutting area… bing bong… board cutting area.” I don’t know if they have rules about a number of cuts they’ll make per board, but he did seven cuts for us. He cut all five of the boards stacked, which definitely saved time, though. I could have cut the strips with my table saw, but I never would have been able to cut them as straight and even as in the store.

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Yea, but is it “sitting on the floor” bad?

That’s what David said to me as I finished cutting in the paint around the window in the first floor bathroom over Christmas break and told him “well that’s not what I was expecting.”

A few years ago when we lived in our SC house, I picked out this beautiful navy blue for the fireplace wall and a wall in our dining room.

I wanted a color that would complement it pretty well, so I chose a pretty grey that looked great next to that navy blue on the paint cards.  I should have realized my mistake there, but I didn’t.  I went ahead and bought that 5 gallon pail of that grey paint, because that was going on the rest of the walls in that main room.  That was a BIG room.

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